Dr Kate Stevens

Lecturer, Undergraduate Advisor (History)

Qualifications: BA Honours (University of Otago), Diploma in Language and Culture (University of Otago), PhD (University of Cambridge)

([email protected])


Environmental History; History; Maori History; New Zealand History

Pacific history, colonial history

Research Interests

Learn more about my current projects here:

My research focuses on colonial histories of cultural and economic exchange in the Pacific world, including New Zealand. I take a comparative approach, working across the intersection of race, gender and law and examining both British and French colonies.

I have worked with Professor Judy Bennett on a Marsden Fund project exploring the commodity history of coconuts in the Pacific from the mid-nineteenth century onwards. Focusing on the French Polynesia, Vanuatu and New Caledonia, I am investigating the process and impacts of Islanders’ integration into the global economy through the example of copra and coconut oil products.

I am interested in the intersections and interaction between race, sexuality and colonial law in both the British and French empire and the connections and contrasts between them. My work examines the introduction of European legal systems in early colonial New Caledonia, Fiji and the New Hebrides (now Vanuatu). I explode the way in which colonial administrations attempted to govern intimate lives, islanders' engagement with new forms of justice, and the limits of the rule of law in these island colonies.

More generally, I have an interest in interracial marriage and intimacy in colonial settings. I collaborate with Associate Professor Angela Wanhalla to explore the significance of women, marriage and indigenous (specifically Ngāi Tahu) knowledge in New Zealand's whaling worlds and on relationships between American servicemen and Māori women in New Zealand during WWII.

Recent Publications

  • Stevens, K. (2020). Mixed Race Identities in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. The Journal of Pacific History, 1-2. doi:10.1080/00223344.2020.1722336

  • Infante-Amate, J., Luedtke, B., MacFadyen, J., Robins, J., & Stevens, K. (2019). Roundtable. Fats of the Land: New Histories of Agricultural Oils. Agricultural History, 93(3), 520-546. doi:10.3098/ah.2019.093.3.520

  • Wanhalla, A., & Stevens, K. (2019). A ‘class of no political weight’? Interracial Marriage, Mixed Race Children and Land Rights in Southern New Zealand, 1840s-1880s. History of the Family. doi:10.1080/1081602X.2019.1614474

  • Stevens, K., & Wanhalla, A. (2019). Māori women in Southern New Zealand’s shore-whaling world. RCC Perspectives: Transformations in Environment and Society. New Histories of Pacific Whaling, 5, 23-29. doi:10.5282/rcc/8959

View all research publications by Kate Stevens

Papers Taught


I am available to supervise research in Pacific history, British and French colonial history, environmental history and histories of intimacy.

Contact Details

Name  Extn.  Username  Room  Department
Stevens, Dr Kate 5278 kstevens J.3.03 History Programme